CLANTON, Ala. (WIAT) — Exit 212 along I-65 is serving as a hub of economic growth for Chilton County.
“We’ve been on the sidelines for the last 20 years where we have seen Shelby County, Otaga County and Elmore County grow around us and we haven’t grown,” Chilton County Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell said.
A nearly $100 million Alabama Farm Center in the county will soon be built and a master plan approved on Monday will expand upon it. Land near the center will be developed into new restaurants, a sports park, homes, and shopping venues.
“We are the only place in the State of Alabama where you are within an hour’s drive of 1.3 million people,” Parnell said.
Along with the Farm Cent, the new developments are expected to bring in nearly 1 million visitors a year and about 1,500 direct jobs for the community.
“The Farm Center brings in revenue, basically by visitors coming in spending their money and sales tax generates revenue for the city hospitals, schools, and that’s where we are getting our biggest benefit from it,” Clanton Councilman Jeffrey Price said.
“People like myself who have lived here their whole life [have] grown up here and have farms, we are a farming community. But I think one of the concerns we have is can we maintain that and then have the growth at 212 and I think we will,” said Tommy Glassock, owner of Morlyn’s Fine Jewelry.
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